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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 May 2021


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China Offers to Host Afghan-Taliban Peace Talks

  • China, which has stepped up its diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the wake of the US troops withdrawal from the war-torn country, has offered to host peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
  • Significantly, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who in the last two-days held telephone talks with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts, said that China will back the Afghan government headed by Ashraf Ghani in playing a leading role.
  • The offer to facilitate peace talks was made during Wang's phone talks with his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar.
  • The US troop pull-out has raised concerns in Beijing that it may lead to the regrouping of Xinjiang province's Uygur Muslim militants in Afghanistan, which shares borders with China.

Nepal Supreme Court Refuses to Issue Interim Order on Oath Taken by PM Oli

  • In a temporary relief for Nepal's embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, the Supreme Court refused to issue an interim order on the writ petitions against his controversial oath-taking and reappointment of the seven ministers who are not lawmakers.
  • Four writ petitions were filed in the Supreme Court of Nepal demanding that Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli be sworn in again as he disgraced the office of the President by refusing to repeat all the words she recited during the oath-taking ceremony.
  • However, the apex court has told the Office of the President and the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers to come up with written responses within 15 days regarding the oath taken by the Prime Minister.

Penpa Tsering Elected President of Central Tibetan Administration

  • Penpa Tsering, former speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, has been elected as the president of the Central Tibetan Administration.
  • Tsering secured 34,324 votes to secure the post of 'Sikyong' (political leader), whereas Kalsang Dorjee Aukatsang won 28,907 votes in the polls, said Chief Election Commissioner of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Wangdu Tsering Pesur during an online press briefing.
  • He also announced the appointment of 45 members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
  • More than 83,000 Tibetans living in 26 countries participated in the third and final round of voting for the election to the post of Sikyong.
  • The 45 new members of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile will include 10 members representing each of Tibet's three traditional provinces---U-tsang, Kham, and Amdo---and two representatives from each of Tibet's four major schools of Buddhism and pre-Buddhist Bon religion.
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CCI Approves Sale of YES Bank's MF Subsidiaries to GPL Finance

  • Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the acquisition of Yes Asset Management (India) Ltd and Yes Trustee Limited by GPL Finance and Investments Ltd.
  • The proposed combination envisages the acquisition of 100 per cent equity shares of the two entities by GPL.
  • By way of these acquisitions, GPL will acquire Yes Mutual Fund and become its sole sponsor.
  • GPL Finance is a non-deposit-taking and non-systemically important non-banking financial company.
  • In August 2020, the private lender had executed a definitive agreement for the sale of 100 per cent of the equity shareholding of Yes Asset Management (India) Ltd and Yes Trustee Ltd, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Yes Bank to GPL Finance and Investments.

Govt. to Sell Nearly 2% SUUTI Stake in Axis Bank

  • The government will sell nearly 2 per cent stake in Axis Bank Ltd. held through Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI), a move that's expected to fetch around Rs. 3,969 crore to the exchequer in divestment receipts.
  • The government will sell its 1.21 per cent stake or 36 million shares in Axis Bank with the floor price set at Rs. 680 a share. It has also kept the option to additionally sell its 0.74 per cent or 22 million shares in the private sector lender. In February, it was reported that the government plans to sell its 1-2 per cent stake in Axis Bank.
  • The sale of 1.95 per cent stake in India's third largest private sector bank could help the government mop up around Rs 3,949 crore in divestment receipts. Post the sale, the government would continue to hold a 1.5 per cent stake in Axis Bank through SUUTI.

Infosys and Majesco Collaborate to Accelerate Digital Experience for Insurers

  • IT services firm Infosys and Majesco, a cloud insurance software solutions provider announced a strategic collaboration to work together to help joint customers accelerate their digital transformation journey.
  • This will help unlock new opportunities, address the demand for personalised customer experiences, operational effectiveness, and digital adoption across the insurance business value chain.
  • Infosys' insurance domain and digital capabilities combined with Majesco's cloud-based suite of solutions including the Majesco L&A and Group Core Suite, Majesco P&C Core Suite, and Majesco Digital1st Insurance on Majesco CloudInsurer, will accelerate business growth and innovation for the insurance industry.
  • The combined synergy will help Life & Annuity (L&A), Group, and Property & Casualty (P&C) customers transform their business and will benefit insurers in achieving agility and innovation at speed and scale.
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Iran Develops its Most Powerful Supercomputer 'Simorgh'

  • Iran has unveiled a new supercomputer named 'Simorgh', which is 100 times more powerful than the previous supercomputer of the country to date. The supercomputer has been developed indigenously by Tehran's Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT). It has been named after a mythical Phoenix-like bird 'Simurgh'.
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Argentinian President Considers Hosting Entire Copa America

  • Argentinian President Alberto Fernández has said that his country would consider hosting the entire Copa America if Colombia is unable to co-host because of social unrest.
  • It was the first time an Argentinian official publicly acknowledged the possibility of hosting the full tournament, scheduled for June 13 to July 10.
  • "We can analyze organising all of Copa America in Argentina," Fernández told radio Diez.
  • Fernández' statements came as doubts emerged about Colombia's ability to co-host the tournament amid protests against the administration of President Iván Duque. The Colombian government insists it can.

AIBA announces USD 400,000 Prize Fund for Asian Boxing Championships

  • In an unprecedented move, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) announced a prize fund of USD 400,000 for the upcoming Asian Championships in Dubai, which will also feature India's top pugilists.
  • The tournament, which was originally planned in India but shifted to Dubai because of the COVID-19 pandemic, begins on May 24. It will feature both the men's women's competitions.
  • For the boxers who take first place, both men and women, the award is USD 10,000. For the second, the prize money is USD 5,000 and for both bronze medallists, it is USD 2,500 USD each.
  • AIBA President Umar Kremlev said that the decision will motivate the boxers to do their best.
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India to Take Part in Global Health Summit Co-hosted by Italy, EU

  • India will take part in the Global Health Summit which is being co-hosted by Italy as the Chair of the G20 group and the European Commission this year.
  • India will be represented by its Sherpa for G20 Suresh Prabhu at the meet that will take place on Friday, 21st May.
  • The key outcome of the Global health meet will be the "Rome Declaration" which will focus on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Last year G20 grouping had announced a number of coordinated measures to deal with the pandemic, including the economic fallout.
  • The summit will see the participation of all G20 member countries and 3 guest countries -Singapore, Spain, and the Netherlands.
  • Other than that, international and regional organizations such as the UN, WHO, IMF, OECD, AU, ASEAN, WTO, FAO, GAVI, Global Fund will be part of the summit.

CPI Announces Picks for Next Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet

  • The CPI, a key partner in the CPI(M)-led LDF, announced its nominees to be inducted in the second Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala.
  • CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said that the party has decided to nominate its newly elected MLAs, K. Rajan, P. Prasad, J. Chinchu Rani and G. R. Anil as ministers in the new government, while senior party leader and Adoor MLA Chittayam Gopakumar as the deputy speaker.
  • The decision was taken at the party's state council meeting.
  • The meeting also decided to appoint senior party leader and minister in the outgoing ministry, E Chandrasekharan, as its legislature party leader.

Manipur CM Launches 'MOMA Market' for Vegetable

  • Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has launched a smartphone application "Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) Market" for home delivery of fresh vegetables to ensure that people get fresh vegetables at their doorsteps during the COVID-19 induced curfew. MOMA a unit of the state horticulture and soil conservation department launched the app under the CM's supervision to make fresh vegetables available for day-to-day consumption and to reduce the distress sales of farm produce during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
  • MOMA has been assigned to work in the area and channel farm produces to consumers via home delivery in order to prevent vegetable losses and COVID-19 spread. Farmers Producer Companies (FPCs) working with MOMA will harvest vegetables from various farms. It will then be transported to cold storage and warehouses at the department's complex in Sanjenthong and other locations. Finally, the consumer's MOMA Market order will be shipped to their doorstep.
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Biden Administration Approves Sale of Precision-guided Weapons to Israel

  • As per reports, US President Joe Biden's administration has approved a $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons to Israel.
  • The Congress was officially notified of the proposed sale earlier this month, nearly a week before the conflict escalated between the Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
  • The proposed sale includes the joint direct attack munitions (JDAM) and GBU-39 small diameter bombs.
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Former Union Minister Chaman Lal Gupta Passes Away

  • Veteran BJP leader and former Union Minister Chaman Lal Gupta died after a prolonged illness at his Gandhi Nagar residence. He was 87.
  • The deceased leader had an illustrious political career spanning over five decades after he became a member of the J&K Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1972. He was again a member of J&K Legislative Assembly between 2008 and 2014.
  • He was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from Udhampur constituency of Jammu in 1996 and re-elected to 12th and 13th Lok Sabha in 1998 and 1999.
  • Chaman Lal Gupta was Union Minister of State, Ministry of Civil Aviation between October 13, 1999 and September 1, 2001, Union Minister of State (independent charge), Ministry of Food Processing Industries (September 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002) and Union Minister of State for Defence (July 1, 2002 to 2004).

K.K. Aggarwal, Former IMA President Dies

  • Padma Shree awardee and former national president of the Indian Medical Association Dr. K. K. Aggarwal passed away after battling Covid-19 at New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
  • A cardiologist by profession, he was also the head of the Heart Care Foundation of India. He also received the Dr. BC Roy Award in 2005 and Padma Shree in 2010.
  • He did his schooling in Delhi and completed MBBS from Nagpur University. He was active on social media and used to post videos of him talking about various aspects of Covid-19.
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World Metrology Day

  • World Metrology Day is an event occurring on 20 May celebrating the International System of Units. The date is the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. Metrology is the study of measurement. The World Metrology Day project is currently realized jointly by the BIPM and the OIML.
  • The theme for World Metrology Day 2021 is Measurement for Health.
  • This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role measurement plays in health, and thus in the wellbeing of every one of us.
  • The World Metrology Day project is realized jointly by the BIPM and the OIML. We hope that you enjoy this site and that your Country or Metrology Organization will join us and participate in this year's event.
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